Barristers Place Community Assn.

Park Authority Destruction of Working Footbridge

Posted in: Miller Heights



My family has lived at 11005 Langton Arms Court since 1994, and I walk our dog every day along the stream trail. The three wooden footbridges along the stream trail have been a special pleasure allowing us to walk along the full length of the stream.


Recently  the Fairfax County Park Authority, by its own admission to me once I investigated, destroyed one of the three footbridges. I have loaded a PDF slide show for all of you to see the specifics. While several of us believed this was destroyed as a result of undue influence of the sellers of the multi-million dollars homes going up for sale soon (eliminating the footbridge reduces pedestrian traffic during the sales period) I believe the Park Authority when they say this is not the case.  This was a well-intentioned mis-guided staffer who took offense at We the People daring to make improvement to "unofficial" trails. This is a county-wide issue.


I am seeking a point of contact within the Miller Heights association to make this a neighborhood wide matter for discussion and remediation. I have been able to stop the destruction of the other two bridges, at least for now. I am trying to get the destroyed footbridge rebuilt before our kids come home for Thanksgiving, the trail being a popular run for some of them -- and of couse popular with all of us that walk our dogs and restore our sanity with a daily walk.


I am seeking information on the provenance of the footbridges.  Who built them, at what expense, when?


I am seeking neighbors who wish to join together, with or without the Assocation, to demand a change to how the Park Authority operates in relation to "informal" trails and citizen-financed improvements (including many Eagle Scout projects that are hugely beneficial all around).


The Chairman and her staff are following this matter, which as I noted is county-wide. Right now we have successfully stopped any further destruction of functional footbridges.


A preliminary review suggests that there are 300 miles of "approved" trails and 50 miles of "unapproved" trails, including most of the well-trodden foot trails that are immediately adjacent to the major streams, where the best views and life-affirming access is made possible.


I believe that we can get a formal change in Park Authority practices that respects the rights of citizens, the value of the foottrails, and the value of footbridges that are built in coordination with the Park Authority such that they are not subject to being washed away by flood waters and so on.


My email is I will gladly mail anyone that wishes a copy of my powerpoint complaint to the Chairman that received immediate attention.  I have also posted the document under the Miller Heights Neighborhood Association. Since this is a county-wide issue, I would be glad to work with others to come together in devising a new 21st Century approach to this matter.


Legal liability is one of the concerns that industrial-era staff minds brought up. I have pointed out that it will cost the county a great deal more to evaluate someone with a broken leg obtained while clambering up and down steep embankments, and that citizen-built footbridges can easily be excluded from liability with notices at the entrances of the park areas.


Summing up:


For Miller Heights: who built the bridges, when, at what cost? Anyone want to join my campaign to get the specific footbridge restored before Thanksgiving?


For Fairfax County: respectfully bring this county-wide matter to the attention of all neighbors who love walking along streams and who not only enjoy existing footbridges, but may believe that additional footbridges should be nominated for Park Authority consent and Eagle Scout Action.


I have the time, if desired by all of you,  to serve as your staff assistant in consolidating informaton and sharing information for our mutual benefit.



Robert Steele

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